D is for Dockyards
Simon Fowler, in his book Tracing your Naval Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians, reminds us that:
"the Admiralty was the largest employer in Britain (in the 18th and 19th centuries) employing thousands of men at its dockyards."
Some dockyards included:
Cadiz (or Mediterranean)
Cork or Haulbowline
Jamaica or Kingston
Minorca (or Port Mahon)
Nelson's at Antigua
Penang (or Prince of Wales Island)
Plymouth or Devonport
York (or Lake Ontario)
I've highlighted the dockyards that were Royal Naval dockyards. The others were called outports as per this guide on the Royal Museums Greenwich site.
My great-great grandfather Edward Conner/Connor was a fitter in HM Dockyard (I am presuming Portsmouth as that is where he lived) per the register of St James hospital in 1897. See this blog post here for how I discovered this.
Simon Fowler recommends downloading the In Depth Research guide to the Royal Naval Dockyards at the TNA for those researching ancestors in Dockyards. You can see it here.
When I tried to search the Yard Pay Books for Portsmouth, I could only find records up to 1856.
|The Colonnade Gate, once part of the Deptford Dockyard by Loz Pocock on Flickr, Creative Commons Licence|
Edward married Rebecca Foyne in Deptford in 1851 so it might be worth searching ADM 42 for Deptford too as I can't find any evidence of Edward and Rebecca being in Portsea/Portsmouth until the 1861. Hmmm....no joy there either really given that the records seem to only go up to 1843. I wonder if Edward ever walked through the Colonnade Gate as pictured above.
The Greenwich site has this to say about Deptford dockyard:
Founded 1513, it was the leading dockyard in the 16th century, but due to the silting of the Thames by the 18th century its use was restricted to ship building and distributing stores to other yards and fleets abroad. It shut down 1830–1844 and closed 1869.So I suppose that is why Edward and Rebecca moved to Portsmouth. I think Edward was born in about 1828 and I suppose he could have started work in the Deptford dockyards quite young. So I will put that on my to do list.
Alternatively I could search ADM 36 - 38 - Ships Pay Books and Musters. ADM 38 would be most appropriate date wise for my research into Edward Connor.
Two other sets of records worthwhile researching would be ADM 23 (Registers of Pensions and Allowances) and PMG 25 (Pensions of artificers and labourers in the Admiralty Dockyard Service, including from 1867 to 1894).
|Image from Pixabay by Blickpixel|
Of course I would have to research in person at the National Archives in the UK or employ a researcher as these records have not been digitised.
The National Archives website has a list of independent researchers that can help you in your research if you are unable to attend in person. You can narrow it down by subject. There are over 50 researchers listed who can help in the area of Royal Navy and Genealogy. With so many names, how would you know how to choose? Check out their websites. Are they members of AGRA? How much would you have to pay? How long is a piece of string? But from searching a couple of websites the going rate seems to be about £30 per hour plus costs.
This post is part of the Blogging A-Z challenge.